Another unusual element is how you can run out of bullets, and must replenish your supply by picking up gun icons that appear periodically. The spiders will paralyze you and the blobs steal your ammo, so it's a good idea to blast everything in sight. Dark Cavern's graphics are plain but smoothly animated and relatively flicker-free. The game's one fault is that it's too generous with extra lives. You start with five and earn additional lives on a regular basis. That reduces the challenge, but Dark Cavern is still well worth playing.
. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
The action unfolds in slow-motion and there's only one or two enemies on the screen at a time. The fact that every room looks the same makes it very easy to go in circles. Monsters include skeletons, wizards, and doctors wearing scrubs. Oh, those are zombies. When shot, each creature transforms into a lower form, so multiple shots are required to kill anything.
Since you can only fire one shot at a time it takes forever to kill something from a distance. Move in close however and you unleash some kind of rapid-fire action to wear them down quickly. The animation is smooth and I like how you can fire diagonally. Unfortunately Dark Chambers never generates suspense or excitement. Weapon upgrades are never lost once acquired, so the difficulty actually drops as you progress. There are smart bombs, but what fun is that when you can only kill two creatures at most?
The challenge is low even on the hardest difficulty. The monsters move like snails so the only danger lies when you enter a room and there's one standing next to you. I got so tired of dragging that elf's schlumpy ass from one side of the screen to the next, I couldn't stand it! And if you thought the single-player mode was a dull affair, the two-player simultaneous mode is nothing less than excruciating. I'm starting to think Dark Chambers was never meant to be the title of this game, but perhaps a storage suggestion. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
Dark Mage is primitive but certainly playable. The text is large, minimal, and easy-to-read despite its ugly yellow-on-red color scheme. Well-designed controls allow you to move in four directions, talk, take, give items, use items, and check your inventory. Once you get a feel for it, you can quickly move from one area to another. Like all text adventures, the main idea is to collect items and use them to unlock new areas.
There's plenty of trial and error involved, so expect to see this message a lot: "You can't do that here". It doesn't help that some of the puzzles don't make much sense (using a small dog to subdue an ogre? huh?) You'll also soon realize that it's necessary to map your progress on paper to keep from getting lost. Despite its obvious flaws, I found myself mysteriously drawn into this little adventure. Just the fact that it runs on the 2600 has got to be worth something. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
The generators have "health" meters so you can see how much damage you've inflicted. When you hit a generator a white block is created that moves across the screen and can absorb your shots. As more criss-crossing blocks are created, it becomes difficult for your slow-moving torpedos to get through. But there's a twist. By holding in the fire button you steer your missiles. Not only can you skillfully snake your way through the moving blocks, but you can speed up your missiles as well. Sadly, this mechanic is undermined by some seriously mediocre collision detection. You might be able to weave through wide gaps in the early going, but once the blocks become dense a fire-and-forget strategy seems to work best.
Once you think you have the upper hand a shield slowly moves up from the bottom of the screen, seriously cramping your style. At this point the game gets intense and the color-cycling is mesmerizing. Will you be able to take out that last generator before getting crushed? If you do, there's a cool power-down sound effect and your final score is displayed. Three skill levels are available, but anything other than easy is impossible. Deathtrap isn't a standout title but it's at least good enough to make you want to beat it.
. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.
The events include the 100m dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400m race, 110m hurdle, discus, pole vault, javelin, and 1500m race. Your smoothly-animated athlete is rendered in four colors, but for some reason the coliseum is only packing about 18 spectators. Only one player competes in each event at a time. Each requires a good bit of joystick jiggling, and the action can get pretty intense. Unfortunately, there's too much emphasis on running, and these events nearly ruin the game.
The 100-meter dash is tolerable, but the 400-meter race will have you jerking your wrist back and forth for a full minute! The final event is a 1500-meter race, and it is sheer torture! Another problem is that in most events each player gets far too many "tries", which is aggravating for the other players. One nice feature is how you can pick and choose individual events to customize your tournament. Overall, Decathlon is a fine choice for some spirited multiplayer action. It's the only Atari 2600 game that's ever made me break into a sweat! © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Defender has a lot of issues, but my main beef is how your ship disappears (blinks) whenever you fire. If you fire fast enough on the trigger, you're practically invincible! Apparently the programmer couldn't figure out how to display both the ship and its laser fire on the screen at the same time! Maybe he should have gotten some tips from Chopper Command's programmer.
Defender's collision detection is poor and the alien movements are erratic to say the least. They flicker horribly, and often appear from out of nowhere - sometimes on top of your ship! The smart bomb and hyperspace controls are initiated by pressing the fire button after moving your ship above or below the visible field of view.
Not only is this clumsy, but your ship pauses momentarily before disappearing off the screen, making you briefly susceptible to enemy fire. Atari should have used the second joystick for these functions (which they later did for Defender II - a much better game). Defender is also too easy. In the relentless arcade game, you are lucky to last for one minute, but this version offers little challenge even on the hardest setting. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
While your adversaries are fast and relentless, you can eliminate them by ramming them from behind. This is easier to accomplish by pressing the "overdrive" button, which consumes more fuel but makes you an instant speed demon. Eliminating the other vehicles early in each stage will make your life easier, but they don't go without a fight.
Their movements are wild and unpredictable, and they can abruptly change direction at each intersection. When you do nail one from behind, the vehicle will bounce around the screen for a while, sometimes causing chain reactions (nice). Herby is undeniably challenging and even the first stage is no cakewalk. The graphics and sound are mediocre at best, but Demolition Herby encourages you to be reckless and take chances, and I like that. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
Demon Attack's controls are responsive and your shots travel fast. Some interesting game variations include guided "tracer" shots and a two-player simultaneous mode. With two players, control of a single cannon is periodically alternated between both players - an original feature whose time never came. While Demon Attack's graphics and sound aren't overly impressive, each wave sports a different set of aliens, and I like how they gyrate in a freaky manner. On a final note, Demon Attack's label has a picture of a spray-painted rubber dinosaur which I remember owning as a kid. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
The skulls are meant to provide a strategic element, since creating one closer to your opponent places him in more danger. The shooting controls are unique in that the longer you hold down the button, the further your laser beam travels. It sounds promising, but Demons to Diamond's gameplay is surprisingly lame and its graphics are blocky and unimpressive. Even with two-players, the game was never the fast and furious shootout I was hoping for. When all is said and done, this is one of those games you'll forget about five minutes after playing it.
. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
Your pixelated bird flaps smoothly but never gains much altitude. Enemies are pixelated blobs and it's so hard to gauge their position that when you shoot one it feels like an accident. Desert Falcon is just poorly designed from the ground up. Random missiles are constantly being fired from off-screen. Landing to pick up symbols brings the action to a screeching halt, and touching any pyramid makes you keel over dead.
Only specific combinations of symbols will grant you powers, which is confusing. Sometimes you'll respawn directly on an obelisk, costing you another life. The sphinx boss looks impressive but the game places you in an awkward spot where you can't properly line up to shoot it! Desert Falcon's exotic musical score isn't bad, but it comes with a video game, and that is quite bad. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
Dig Dug stars a little dude in a white outfit tunneling through the ground to rid each stage of round orange creatures with goggles and cute fire-breathing dragons. You eliminate enemies by pumping them with air until they pop or by dropping rocks on their heads. It's good strategy to pump them up a little to delay their progress and time it so several can be crushed by the same rock. Come to think about it, this game is brutally violent.
As you might expect the graphics are less detailed than the arcade. The dirt is lacking the granular quality and the perfectly square boulders look cheesy. That said, the game retains all the distinctive monster behaviors and exciting risk-versus-reward strategy. Even the music is faithful to the arcade! Whoever programmed this really knew what they were doing.
Here are some helpful hints for new players. When the veggie like a carrot or eggplant appears in the center of the screen, immediately go after it! Those are worth crazy points. Next, if you're not going to catch that last monster fleeing the screen try to dig some extra dirt because every chunk nets you 10 points. Finally, when you start each stage look for "easy kills" in the form of obvious boulder drops. Take what they give you! Dig Dug is greater than the sum of its parts and knowledgeable players will devise all sorts of fun techniques. © Copyright 2017 The Video Game Critic.
Dishaster is an exercise in multitasking. The plates slow at different rates, and you need to move quickly to prevent them from crashing down. After four plates drop the game is over. The first two variations are endless, but the third offers just enough challenge. I noticed you can hold in the button the entire time, adding a little spin to each pole you pass by. I'm pretty sure there are other strategies you can employ to maximize your score. For example, letting plates on some poles drop so you can focus on others. Repetitive circus music plays throughout the game. This game may be Dishaster but I wouldn't call it a complete disaster. Note: Also released under the name Dancing Plate.
. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.
You drive a little car around a screen consisting of four concentric circles with four intersections. The object is to clear the lanes of dots while avoiding "crash cars" driving in the opposite direction. You hold the fire button to accelerate and use the joystick to change one or two lanes (depending on your speed). Those relentless crash cars never miss an opportunity to ram you, forcing you to think ahead and anticipate their movements.
Expect a lot of sudden lane changes and near-misses (or should that be near-hits?). It's a good thing you can pause between rounds to catch your breath! Dodge 'Em is surprisingly challenging and addictive, and you'll find yourself hitting reset again and again. A two-player mode lets a friend control the crash car. Dodge 'Em is more than the sum of its parts. It has to be, right? © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.
As the screen scrolls, approaching sea horses form walls that serve as obstacles. Each wall has a gap however, and by using the game's sound cues you can position your dolphin to swim right through the gaps without slowing down. This is the only 2600 game I'm aware of where the audio plays such a critical role.
Occasionally "currents" (which look like arrows) cross the screen to slow you down or give you a boost. In addition, if you leap out of the water and catch the magic seagull, your dolphin can turn the tables and chase down that rotten squid. Once you catch that ugly S.O.B., you'll rack up some real points. I can certainly appreciate Dolphin's fine graphics and original concepts, but the game does tend to wear thin after a few plays. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Each screen offers a new set of dangers like rocks, bogs, whirlpools, and flying fish. One even features Donald's three nephews floating in the water. Your boat moves slowly but holding in the button provides a boost, allowing you to rack up points. There's not much to see except green mountains in the distance reflected off the water.
After reaching the finish your nephews march onto the screen with a gold, silver, or bronze trophy based on your score. With a sharp title screen and multiple endings, Donald Duck's Speedboat is pretty much a complete game. It's repetitive and shallow however, especially with the longer courses repeating the same sections over and over. This would have been a questionable release, but there's a certain appeal to the game's innocent charm.
. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
Kong looks awfully blocky, but I like how he pounds his chest when you change directions. The best looking thing in this entire game is that blonde-haired chick in the blue dress. Despite its meager graphics, the game is still fun thanks to responsive controls and clean, flicker-free graphics.
The sound effects are sparse, and since there's no music when you grab the hammer, it's hard to predict when it will disappear. Since you can only smash one fireball on the second screen, it's hardly worth the effort. The game only has one skill level, which is pretty lame. Donkey Kong for the Atari 2600 is competently programmed and enjoyable to play but I wish its programmer had been a little more ambitious. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.
In addition, the jumping controls royally suck and the butt-ugly orange color scheme is unattractive. The second screen features three keys (compared to eight in the arcade version) that must be pushed to the top of the screen in order to open Donkey Kong's cage. In addition to wandering teeth, you must also contend with a yellow bird that flies sideways across the screen. This screen's fairly easy, but it ends with a sorry sight. The released Donkey Kong looks pathetic! His head is perfectly square!
The final screen is reminiscent of the original Donkey Kong, challenging you to traverse a tall steel structure. It's hard, but not in a good way. Frustration will set in almost immediately as your limited movements make you easy prey for the wandering teeth. There are few audio effects to speak of, but the "climbing" sound has a screeching quality that's irritating. Despite having three screens, Donkey Kong Jr. is a lukewarm effort that fails to live up to the arcade classic. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
The opening scene doesn't look so bad with its colorful garage backdrop and multicolored characters. The controls are reasonable considering you only have a single button to work with. You can punch, kick, throw an elbow, or perform a jump kick without the benefit of a running start. But the fighting action is a joke. These tiny sprites have no range! Your punch extends your arm by one pixel and the kick isn't much better.
The collision detection is so horrendous you need to look at your score to tell if a punch landed. The jump kick is the only effective move, mainly because it keeps you at a safe distance. Linger anywhere near a thug and you'll sustain multiple hits as you struggle to escape. The opening screen says "Mission 1", suggesting there are multiple levels, but getting past the second screen requires extraordinary perseverance.
The two-player simultaneous mode limits each player to the upper or lower plane, so there's no teaming up. The looping "music" that plays throughout is just mind-numbing. Double Dragon is a throwaway title. It comes off as the kind of game somebody would program on a dare, yet Activision shipped it anyway!
! © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.
Speaking of shots, you press the button once to go up for a shot, and a second time to release the ball. Forget that second press and you'll be called for a travel. When playing against the CPU the pace is pretty hectic. There are a lot of steals and it's hard to tell who has the ball. The "dunks" are pretty modest and it's easy to accidentally go flying out of bounds when trying to perform one.
With enough patience Double Dunk can be surprisingly competitive. You get a full set of customization options including uniforms. From the color schemes it appears you can be the Pistons, Celtics, Hornets, Bulls, Trailblazers, or the all-yellow Lakers. The colorful players are different heights and smoothly animated. It's fun to fight for rebounds but don't forget to clear the ball before taking a shot. When playing the CPU I found myself getting a little better each time, gradually narrowing his margin of victory.
After each game you're presented with a statistical breakout of points, rebounds, blocks, and dunks. You might even find yourself on the receiving end of some trash talk displayed on the screen like "in yo face!" It may not seem so great at first but stick with it and you'll find Double Dunk to be a pretty tight little basketball game. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.
Once inside the castle you're tucked away in a protective little box in the lower right. Dazzling treasure is strewn about the screen. Rendered in high-resolution, items include pots, chalices, candelabras, genie lamps, helmets, harps, crowns, and sparkling diamonds. The graphics look so amazing my friend Brent had to be reassured he was in fact playing an Atari 2600 game. The idea is to snag all the treasure, causing an escape door to appear on the right. A dragon prowls across the bottom and can unleash fireballs in a rapid-fire manner. The fact that smoke is emanating from his snout shows the programmer went far beyond the call of duty.
You won't find another version of the game as fast as this as you zig-zag across each room, occasionally ducking for cover. You'd expect a game like Dragonfire to get repetitive but it doesn't. Each castle offers a gorgeous new color scheme, each dragon is a different color as well. The difficulty ramps quickly. Don't make the mistake of holding the joystick left after entering the castle or you'll immediately dash into danger. A few of my newbie friends got burned doing that. With its vibrant colors, eye candy, and frantic action, Dragonfire is one for the history books. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.
After a brief tape load the second stage kicks in. Here your goal is to purchase items and recruit help for slaying the dragon. The final stage places you in the dragon's lair for the big showdown. Dragonstomper's graphics are high resolution and meticulously drawn. To be honest, I've never seen the actual dragon, but I'm sure he looks impressive. This is a respectable RPG game, and that's no small feat for the 2600.
. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
After an initial countdown you quickly shift and accelerate your way through about six to nine seconds of racing hysteria. Your vehicle's motor growls, sputters, and grinds gears as it slowly moves to the right while popping the occasional wheelie. Dragster is habit-performing if only because it's so damn hard. Accelerate too fast and you'll blow the engine.
Beginners will see the word "BLOWN" over and over, requiring them to keep hitting reset. You could argue the reset switch is the primary button for this game! Once you get a feel for it, playing Dragster feels like playing a musical instrument. And if you manage to post a time under seven seconds, you can die a happy man.
. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.
Each stage has a different layout, but your goal is always to collect colored eggs and use them to open like-colored doors. Your main adversaries are giant rampaging ducks, and these are clearly a nod to the dragons in Adventure (who looked like ducks). You'll also need to avoid bees, tanks, arrows, and snakes. Duck Attack has considerable depth, but its ubiquitous objects and arbitrary rules are a little mind-boggling!
There's a shield, a magnet, a flashlight, and a "zapper" used to subdue the ducks. There are six types of balloons (not to be confused with eggs), which provide bonus points or special powers. There are warps that let you skip levels and "recharging stations" that I never fully understood. The designer threw everything in but the kitchen sink, but more isn't always better. The maze layouts are confusing, and more often than not I felt as if I had completed a level by accident. The huge objects crowd the screen and make things hard to manipulate.
A little restraint would have been nice, but I will credit Duck Attack for the sense of discovery it conveys. There are surprises at every turn, especially when you find yourself walking through screens lifted directly from Video Pinball, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Dodge-Em, Berzerk, and yes, Adventure. It's like having an out-of-cartridge experience!
The programmer's appreciation for the classics shines through, and I appreciate how he went the extra mile to support the AtariVox attachment (to record high scores). The game's cover art is amazing and the manual is first-rate. Duck Attack takes a while to warm up to, and to be frank, the game is a little obnoxious. But if you're looking for a fresh new adventure that's chock full of surprises, you'll relish the crazy world of Duck Attack.
. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.
Some balloons carry bombs that you'll want to shoot before they reach the top. Periodically a clown rises on a balloon, and shooting the balloon and catching the clown is worth big points. If the clown makes it to the top, he'll appear on a unicycle and drop junk on you. What's up with that? The "roof" gradually lowers as the game progresses, making things tighter and allowing less room for error. Dumbo is not especially fun.
Catching and shooting balloons is difficult but rescuing clowns is easy and repetitive. I do like how the clowns change in appearance from wave to wave. Dumbo has some advanced features like a bonus round where you try to catch a cute, bouncing mouse. There are also intermissions, but these appear to be unfinished. As it is, I'd probably give Dumbo's Flying Circus a C-. It's a fascinating prototype, but it could have used a lot more fine tuning. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.
The animation is minimal, but the modest graphics do a fair job of getting their point across. The monsters are pixelated as hell, but it's fun to see how well they can be rendered with so few pixels. Pretty well, as it turns out! The skeletons, phantoms, zombies, and the black knight all look very colorful and distinctive.
During combat you have the option of casting heal, lightning, and "stop time" spells which add some strategy. Normal attacks are based on probabilities, and you'll see graphics like "miss" or "-3" to indicate incurred damage. The bottom of the screen displays your spell points, hit points, and current dungeon level.
Dungeon also offers fun things to discover like chests with combination locks, a sword stuck in a stone, a lost princess, a hidden cave, and even the Holy Grail. Atari 2600 fans with an eye for Easter Eggs will enjoy uncovering the game's mysteries. There's no score, but just trying to reach the end is enough of a challenge. When I bought this game from AtariAge, I also ordered the map/poster, and I'm glad I did. You may have to moderate your expectations, but taken for what it is, Dungeon is a very captivating little adventure. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.
Still, E.T. is not the complete dud people make it out to be. It incorporates many elements from the film and it's challenging. Elliott is rendered in about five colors and E.T.'s side profile looks sharp. The six screens (arranged like a cube) are far less impressive. The Washington DC screen consists of a few blocky structures and the forest screen is a green pattern. The remaining screens are dominated by gigantic pits that are hard to avoid falling into! I don't recall E.T. falling into one pit in the film, much less 20!
Your goal is to collect three phone parts, phone home, and meet your ship in the forest. Each screen is divided into zones and a symbol at the top indicates the action you can perform (teleport, call Elliott, eat candy, locate piece, scratch butt, etc.). Navigating the screens is disconcerting. When moving off the top of one, you'd expect to appear on the bottom of the next, but you'll often appear at the top instead. Or you'll walk off the side of a screen only to appear on the bottom of the next.
This makes it all the more aggravating when you enter a screen and immediately fall into a pit. When you're not languishing at the bottom of some God-forsaken hole, you're on the run from an FBI agent who wants to steal your junk and a scientist who wants to haul your wrinkly ass to some institute. A lot of times you'll see these guys just walking in place on the edge of a screen for no apparent reason. I hate how they can suddenly appear on any part of the screen, making them hard to elude. Holding in the fire button lets E.T. scurry away but inevitably you'll run directly into a pit. You can levitate out, but it's very easy to fall right back in.
The game does offer a surprise or two, like the dead flower that springs to life when you touch it. And it is satisfying to get E.T. safely home because there's a special ending screen. In the "bad" ending, Elliott has apparently buried ET alive in his backyard! So sad! E.T. is not as much bad as it is disappointing, and to say it tarnished Atari's reputation would be an understatement. Atari actually included an extra piece of paper offering hints, but it might as well have been a written apology! © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
This fascinating web page describes the project in lurid detail. It's a heck of a lot of fun to read, and actually documents the specific code changes. The author tightened up the collision detection, fixed some colors, and adjusted the difficulty. Would this effort finally earn the old game some respect? I love the passion (and programming prowess) but I'm afraid these fixes do not enhance the gameplay. In fact, they seem to make the real problems all the more glaring!
Collision detection around the pits is better, but levitating out of them is still a pain in the ass! If you're a novice player, the process can be downright exasperating! Navigating the screens is another headache. You never end up where you would logically expect when entering a new screen. Would this be so hard to fix? And I really hate the relentless frequency in which the agent and scientist pursue you. Changing E.T. from green to yellow isn't much of an improvement since he's brown in the movie. The project was a noble effort, but most people wouldn't notice the changes had they not read the web page first. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
You move a blue bear across the bottom of the screen, trying to catch the eggs in a hat. The bear looks more like a frog to me, and when you think about it, a blue frog would have made a lot more sense (blue frogs love to catch eggs in their hats!) While the game is clearly a Kaboom! (Activision, 1981) knock-off, Eggomania ups the ante with special stages that let you shoot the bird with the eggs you've collected.
The paddle controls are responsive enough, but I hate how you the game immediately halts whenever an egg passes by the rim of your hat. Any self-respecting egg-catching game deserves a decent "splatter" animation. Adding insult to injury, you're then forced to watch that damn chicken perform some hokey musical number.
You can exact your revenge in the shooting stages, but they aren't very satisfying at all. I would have preferred to execute a Mortal Kombat-style fatality on that oxygen-deprived bastard (I call this my "McChicken Filet"). It's too well programmed to merit a failing grade, but Eggomania is far too cute for its own good. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
Each floor is lined with doors and bad guys in black will randomly step out from behind them and try to shoot you. You can fire two shots at a time, and I love how the baddies do a little flip when they take a shot to the gut. You can avoid the bullets by ducking or suspending yourself in the air in an unnatural manner. Eventually you'll reach the lower basement floors, which have stairwells in addition to elevators.
The game is playable but clearly unfinished. For one thing, you play in complete silence. Graphical glitches abound, and many gameplay elements need tweaking. For example, it can take forever for the elevator to show up, and the crooks never get any harder. You shouldn't be able to keep yourself suspended in the air indefinitely. Even so, the fact that Elevator Action is still fun to play in its current, rough form is a testament to how great it could have been. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
Three adversaries which look like stacks of pancakes wander around aimlessly. When you roll toward a wafer, a line appears and automatically pulls you to it. This seems like an interesting dynamic at first, but it actually has very little bearing on the gameplay. I suppose on rare occasions the line can pull you into a pancake monster, but in general you can move around freely. Some wafers contain power pill squares that trigger ringing sound effects that let you touch monsters for points. What's interesting is that the pancake monsters don't disappear or go anywhere when you catch them. Therefore you can snag them over and over again to rack big points.
Elk Attack is well programmed with tight controls, clean graphics, and smooth animation. Unfortunately it suffers from a severe lack of difficulty. If you begin on level one the sheer monotony becomes almost too much to bear. There are too many power pills, too many free lives, and the enemy AI is non-existent. Begin on level 10 if you want any semblance of a challenge. I suspect the developer was just testing out a concept and he abandoned the project when he realized it wasn't going anywhere. Even if Elk Attack had been completed, I don't think it would have attracted much attention. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
You'll need that kind of firepower because blue fighter ships rain down on you relentlessly. You can reposition your cannon by releasing the fire button, and this is necessary to zero in on lethal, low-flying, red "death ships". Encounter's collision detection could be better, as the bulk of your shots seem to pass right through their intended targets.
The games tend to be hectic and short. The action doesn't pause when you lose a ship and it's not obvious when it happens, so you may not even know you've been hit until the game ends! Another thing I hate about Encounter at L5 is its irritating, repetitive sound effects, which forced me to turn down the audio. There are 13 game variations. Encounter at L5 is far from great, but shooter fans looking for something different might find it interesting. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
It sounds like a big number but they tend to whiz by in groups so the counter on your dashboard will quickly count down. It's fun to see how long you can go without hitting something. The simple controls consist of an accelerate button and pulling back to brake. Early each day the ground is green and oncoming cars are easy to see. Later snow moves in, resulting in bright white visuals and less responsive steering.
As the sun sets the screen dims until all you see are tail lights. This visual effect is actually pretty amazing. The challenge really kicks in as fog rolls in and cuts your visibility in half! Suspense builds as the sun begins to rise as you desperately try to pass the last few remaining cars. It's quite a relief to get in just under the wire. Sound effects include excellent engine sounds and whooshing of snow. This game can be time-consuming to play, but hey - they call it Enduro for a reason. This is an innovative, likeable racer that delivers a surprising amount of excitement. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.
When you're stuck at a dead-end, pressing the fire button will use one of your "make-breaks" to create an opening. These things are limited in supply so use them wisely and stock up in the early going. You begin with only one but earn three whenever you touch moving blocks (which are easily mistaken for dangerous barriers). The difficulty curve is steep, with each successful maze scrolling more quickly. One player can try to see how long he can last, or two-players can compete simultaneously in a "last man standing" contest.
Entombed is interesting in concept but sloppy in terms of execution. For a video game, this is about as minimal as you can get. The solid, blocky maze is unimpressive and the sparse sound effects are terrible. Your character is poorly animated and wandering "zombies" look more like spiders. It's very easy to get hung up on corners, and by the time you reach the third stage, this flaw accounts for most of your deaths. It's nothing spectacular, but Entombed will still have you hitting reset a few times just to see if you can get a little bit further. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.
The original Adventure is hard to top in terms of pure gameplay, but let's face it - the game was graphically challenged. Epic boasts high-resolution items, majestic castles, and oversized, multicolored monsters. You can "aim" your sword from side to side, and the Staff of Fire even gives you a shooting capability. The maze layouts are totally original but constructed in the same spirit as Adventure.
The blocky rooms include a skull-shaped cave entrance and a duck-shaped room that pays homage to the original game. Unfortunately there are several flashing rooms that are really hard on the eyes. There's no "bridge" object, but a Ring of Attraction lets you reach tucked-away objects. The Amulet of Invisibility adds a stealth element as you can sneak around undetected. Instead of a bat, a hawk now freely flies between screens redistributing the items, and sometimes he'll even carry you off!
Occasionally he will save your life, but one time he embedded me in a wall. I dislike how you can't "slide" around walls as you could in the original game, and sometimes monsters will appear on the screen and eat you before you can even react. There are three difficulty levels. Epic Adventure is addictive and very exciting at times. It's different from Adventure but not too different. Give this game a try, and let it bring out the little square in you. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
You can move your ship freely around the screen as you're approached by planes, helicopters, and various geometric shapes (including the ever-popular rhombus). Beware of ground installations that open and close to discharge bombs. The word Espial means "catch sight of" and that's appropriate because the enemies are hard to see. In fact, they're transparent! You can fire rapidly, but even your fat missiles have a hard time connecting with those ghostly, zigzagging targets.
A set of crosshairs hovers a fixed distance in front of your ship, allowing you to target ground installations (ala Xevious). One knock against the game is the musical intermissions, which sound more like off-key nursery rhymes. I suspect these were leftovers from a scrapped game featuring a chain-smoking rabbit and an effeminate dancing frog in a sailor outfit. Espial is a playable little shooter, but its bad parts tend to overshadow its good parts. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.
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Screen shots courtesy of Atari Age, 2600 Connection, Atari 2600 Homebrew, Moby Games, Atari Protos.com, Atari Mania